Marketplace PM for December 14, 2004

Episode Description 

Running late? No problem!

Have you ever dashed out in your sweatpants and slippers, hustling over to Blockbuster to get that rented movie back before the late fees kick in. We might soon be spared those mad dashes. The country's biggest movie rental chain is getting rid of its late fees as of January the 1st. Blockbuster hopes that'll help it compete with on-line rental companies like NetFlix. Marketplace's Matthew Algeo has that story.

Catching the fire

Say you like something. A certain product, maybe. If you like it a lotm you'd tell all your friends about it, right? But is liking it a lot enough to spend money promoting it. Would it help if the certain something were free? Marketplace's Lisa Napoli tells us how some fans of one tech product are announcing their devotion in the biggest way they can.

Catching creativity

We saw another home-brewed ad today. A 36-year-old science teacher in Orange County California loves his iPod so much he spent nights and weekends working on an online ad for the music player. It's pretty good, too. That kind of creativity can be tough to come by in the business world. Harvard professor Teresa Amabile has spent a lot of time thinking about how to bottle it and put it to work.

The NYPD blues

Transit cops in New York work long hours on the subways and buses of the city that never sleeps. Some of them - really long hours. The New York Times reports today the city's transit agency paid a third of its police officers more than $100,000 each last year. One made more than $200,000. Most of that's thanks to overtime. Because whenever cops work extra duty, they get time and a half at least. Ashley Milne-Tyte reports that since 9/11 officers of the regular NYPD have been putting in hours the city will be paying for ... for decades to come.

The Best Gift Ever - Chuck Williams

Time for today's installment in our holiday series -- The Best Gift Ever. What gift really got to you? Drop us a line, letters@marketplace.org. What gift hit home with you? We'd like to hear about it. Write us at letters at marketplace-dot-org.

Localize, localize, localize

There were some big numbers in that trade gap story Bob Moon reported at the top of the program. If you want a piece of that multi-billion dollar pie, you've got be able to take your product global. But that takes money. And it costs even more if you have to recall something because of cultural blunders. Take Microsoft, for just one example. The company had to rewrite one of its programs for India, when it forgot to include Kashmir on a map. So how can companies avoid geopolitical gaffes? One word - Localize. From KUOW in Seattle, Cathy Duchamp explains.